12 key recommendations made to improve Guernsey election process

Guernsey election
The group concluded that the Guernsey Election was a successful democratic exercise. Credit: ITV Channel TV

An independent report into Guernsey's 2020 election has made 12 key recommendations of change, including improving rights for women and islanders with disabilities.

A team of international observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region (CPA BIMR) were invited to carry out what they have called an "independent election expert mission."

The process assessed the Guernsey 2020 elections against international standards, commitments and obligations, as well as domestic laws.

The group concluded that the Guernsey Election was a successful democratic exercise, and that the island's legal framework complies with international standards for democratic elections.

The following recommendations have been highlighted to improve the process.

  • Recommendation one: A greater codification of electoral rules and procedures to ensure that there is certainty and consistency in the law.

  • Recommendation two: Introduce a permanent election body so it can formally oversee candidate and voter registration, political parties and campaign finance.

  • Recommendation three: Voter registration could be done as part of any annual engagement that residents have with the state, such as filing tax returns.

  • Recommendation four: Consider change a law that does not allow islanders who have been in prison for at least six months during the previous five years to stand for Deputy.

  • Recommendation five: Political parties should be subject to oversight, and their financesshould be evaluated on an annual basis. Individual candidates’ pre-election fundraising and expenditure should also be assessed and recorded.

  • Recommendation six: Boundaries of pre-election and annual expenditure should beclearly defined.

  • Recommendation seven: The recruitment process for polling station staff should be open and publicly advertised, and increased training for polling station staff should beconsidered.

  • Recommendation eight: The number of ballot papers cast should be verified at the start ofthe vote count. Adding an additional verification step should also be explored, namely the verification of the total number of votes cast.

  • Recommendation nine: A rigorous countback audit process should be put in place, so that an original ballot paper that is ‘transposed’ can be checked against the newlytransposed ballot paper that is used to replace it.

  • Recommendation ten: Improve rights for women.

  • Recommendation 11: Improve rights for islanders with disabilities.

  • Recommendation 12: Introduce a system of complaints and appeals for all stages of the electoral process.